Iowa Women's Archives
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa
MARIE RUMBLE (1894-1974)
4 linear inches
Iowa Women's Archives
100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
E-mail the Iowa Women's Archives
|Acquisition:||The papers (donor no. 879) were donated by Pearl Rumble Mirachin 2003.|
|Access:||The papers are open for research.|
|Copyright:||Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.|
|Photographs:||In Box 1.|
|Processed by:||Lisa Mott , 2004. [ RumbleMarie.doc]|
Marie Evelyn Rumble was the third child of Clarence Henry Rumble and Pearl Elizabeth Dodge, born on September 6, 1894. Rumble spent her early years in Clinton, Iowa. In 1902 the family settled on a farm near Mt. Vernon, Iowa. Rumble was one of six daughters and two sons: Earl, Herbert, Marie, Phebe, Edna, Ruth, Elisabeth “Betty” and Pearl. Rumble married Earl Burns when she was seventeen years old and had two daughters, Evelyn and Arlynn. Burns was abusive and Rumble divorced him and took back her maiden name. Rumble and her daughters then lived with her parents Clarence and Pearl Rumble. Rumble attended an academy run by Cornell College in Mt. Vernon and worked as a baker in a tea room. While working in the tea room she met a woman who had been to Wyoming and explained about the possibility of homesteading on government land.
Rumble left Iowa to homestead in Wyoming in 1917. Her parents borrowed $1000 to help her get started. Rumble took her oldest daughter, Evelyn, leaving her youngest child in the care of the elder Rumbles. (Arlynn remained with her grandparents until she was in the eighth grade, when she joined her mother on the homestead in Wyoming.) Rumble settled near what is now Iron Mountain and Horse Creek, small towns forty-five miles west of Cheyenne. Rumble’s 640 acre homestead was surrounded by the Farthing Ranch. It took her about a year before she could build a one-room shack on her homestead. Rumble worked as a cook at several large ranches in the years before her homestead became self-sufficient.
In December 1919 Rumble married Jack Achttien, a ranch hand who was the son of immigrants from the Netherlands. Rumble asked for a saddle instead of an engagement ring. The couple had one son, Jack “Jackie” Jr.; another child was stillborn. Rumble’s youngest sister Pearl, who was only a few years older than Evelyn, spent summers visiting the homestead, breaking ponies and riding calves with her nieces in Cheyenne’s annual rodeo. Evelyn also rode a Brahmin bull in the 1928 Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. One of Rumble’s other sisters, Ruth, moved to Wyoming as a teacher after graduating from high school. Jack Achttien was killed in 1924 when his foot caught in a rope and he was dragged by a horse in a freak accident.
Three years later, in 1927, Marie Rumble married Les Thomson. Thomson persuaded Rumble to sell the homestead to the Farthings and move to an acreage near Pueblo, Colorado during the Depression. Unfortunately the couple had been swindled during the purchase and only found out later that they had no water rights. After struggling for a time in Colorado, Thomson secured a job at the Hoover Dam site. Marie Rumble and Jack Jr. joined him and lived in a tent city. When the Hoover Dam project ended the family moved around following the work Thomson could find. After living in Tombstone, Arizona for a while they located in Washington state where they bought an acreage near Bremerton and Port Orchard. In 1935 Rumble gave birth to a daughter, Rose Marie. Eventually the family relocated to Brea, in Orange County California, where they remained until after their daughter was married. While living in Brea, Rumble took a writing course at a junior college. As more people moved into Orange County the air quality became worse and Marie’s health suffered. The Thomsons moved back to Washington State where they purchased another acreage. The couple traveled, including a road trip to Alaska. Rumble spent her later years in a nursing home following a stroke. She died November 5, 1974.
The Marie Rumble papers date from 1890 to 2002 and measure 4 linear inches. The papers include materials written by Rumble herself as well as recollections written by Rumble’s youngest sister, Pearl Rumble Mirich. Materials written by Rumble include several letters she wrote to her mother and sisters between 1920 and 1945 while living in Wyoming, Colorado, and Washington State. The letters describe many of her hardships, including major surgery she underwent in 1934. Rumble’s letters also reveal a deep devotion to her second husband, Jack Achttien. After her sister Edna suffered a miscarriage in 1934, Rumble wrote an impassioned letter sharing some of the pain she had experienced at the stillbirth of her own child over ten years earlier. Also among the correspondence is a letter Jack Achttien wrote to Rumble’s mother in 1920, a 1987 letter Edna wrote to her sister Pearl recalling her experience at age seventeen of traveling to Wyoming to help their sister Marie deliver Jack Jr. and a 1987 letter written to Pearl from Carol Farthing, whose family owned the Farthing Ranch. There is also a photocopy of a journal Rumble kept in 1921 in which she describes life on the Wyoming homestead and her adoration for husband, Jack. Two scraps of paper in Rumble’s handwriting describe what sister Pearl calls her sister’s “philosophy of life.”
Pearl Mirich’s memories of her oldest sister come in several forms. A Homestead on the Range: A Tenderfoot Girl in Wyoming is a fictionalized manuscript depicting Rumble’s life, while “An Account of Marie Rumble’s Life and Her Family” is a biographical sketch Mirich wrote in 2002 when she was 92 years old. The Rumble papers also include several handwritten recollections Mirich wrote about the Rumble siblings, including Earl Rumble’s death during the 1918 flu epidemic, and about her experiences in Wyoming and Jack Achttien, Jr.’s World War II exploits.
The photographs included in the collection are copies of originals and include photographs of Rumble’s parents on their wedding day in 1890 and their fiftieth anniversary in 1950. There are several photographs from Rumble’s homesteading years in Wyoming that include photographs of Marie, her husband Jack, her children Jack Jr. and Evelyn, and her sisters Ruth and Pearl Rumble. A detailed description written by Pearl Rumble Mirich is included with each photograph.
A Homestead on the Range: A Tenderfoot Girl in Wyoming by Pearl Rumble Mirich, undated [4 folders]
“An Account of Marie Rumble’s Life and Her Family” by Pearl Rumble Mirich, 2002 Correspondence, 1920-1945 and 1987 [2 folders]
Journal, 1921 [photocopy]
Recollections by Pearl Rumble Mirich, undatedWritings by Marie Rumble, undated
Photographs, 1890, 1920, 1940 and undated
For more information about this collection, contact the Iowa Women's Archives.
Last updated June 2, 2004 (jw).